Another major egg producer is having trouble complying with the federal government’s new egg rule.

Forsman Farms, producer of Mae’s Eggs, in Cokato, MN, received an Aug. 30 warning letter from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) after its shell eggs were found to be adulterated, as defined by law, during an April 12-15, 2011 inspection.

The warning letter said Forsman Farms, a 60,000-chicken egg producer on a farm founded in 1918 and now managed a family’s fourth generation, was in “significant violation” of the new July 2010 egg rule designed to control Salmonella enteritidis (SE). 

Forsman is not the first major egg producer to come up short of compliance since the new rule took effect. FDA said Forsman “failed to procure pullets that are SE monitored or to raise pullets under SE monitored conditions,” as required by the new rule.

Also, FDA inspector found that Forsman was not testing the pullet environment for SE after 14 to 16 weeks, as required, in three specific laying houses in Montevideo, MN. The testing for SE apparently occurred too early, when the pullets were 12 weeks of age.

Forsman’s own SE plan apparently called for testing at an incorrect time.

FDA’s has been inspecting the nation’s largest egg producers for compliance with the new rule since last summer, when two Iowa egg producers together were responsible for the recall of more than a half billion shell eggs for possible SE contamination.  

Since that recall, the largest egg recall in the nation’s history, numerous other large egg producers have also been found in violation with the new rule. It now applies to only large producers, but will go into effect for all laying-hen operations in 2012.

Rodent control is one problem the egg producers face. At Forsman, the FDA found that changes made after the inspection to better control rodents in the laying houses were still inadequate.

Forsman also failed to hold eggs at or below 45 degrees F, according to the FDA, which said  the egg farm’s Loader Cooler was running too warm.

In the warning letter, the FDA said Forsman was failing to implement its own SE plan, given its failure to control rodents and maintain proper temperatures. The egg farm was also taken to task for its record keeping.

Food Safety News invited Gary Forsman, president and chief executive officer of Forsman Farms Inc. to comment on the warning letter, but he did not respond.